I'm 28, freelance videographer/film production ninja and Director of Media Management for a non-profit film series here in Austin, TX. I make, literally, peanuts every year, and am constantly scratching just to make rent and eat in the same month. I've had a job, either part time or full, since I was 16. Including all the way through college. Work comes and goes, as life as a freelancer is wont to do, but I've been keeping my nose to the ground for six years now and am slowly making headway on bigger and bigger shoots. I've thought about applying for unemployment but have no idea if I even can; I quit my last side job of my own accord and am still working, albeit erratically, in the freelance field. Texas law concerning unemployment is a big confusing jumble.
I also haven't had health insurance since I got kicked off my mom's plan when I was 22. I've had two visits to both a dentist and optometrist in the last six years (for basic check-ups; luckily I've got strong teeth and my eyes have stopped degrading in the last six years). I haven't had a medical check up in six years now. I've got a fairly strong immune system, but I literally have almost no saving; something wicked coming this way or an auto accident and I'm screwed. My younger brother is newly graduated and is working as a chef, and he only makes marginally more than I do. Neither of us are lazy bums, but our health is important to us, as are seeing our friends have the same rights that we do. Neither of us are particularly religious, and happen to believe that science isn't something you believe in, it's something that exists regardless. Naturally, we prefer it if sky cake was left out of everything.
And really, that's what, I guess, makes me a "liberal." I've often dodged getting pegged as one or the other, but the way "conservative" has been defined in the last decade, I can't in good conscious even step in that direction. I'd love a less powerful, less intrusive, less dogmatic and less gung-ho government. I'd love to see it exist as a function that protects when needed, helps when needed, and does nothing but ensure that the citizens who, in theory, run the joint have every opportunity to make a run at doing what they want to do. Personal responsibility comes into play there, more than yahoos like Rush will ever realize or admit, but there's a whole lot of kids out there born to a whole lot of underprivileged parents and communities, many of whom want to reach beyond their surroundings and few, if any, ever get a shot at even getting to try. And it'd be awesome if, with the help of the government, if that shot didn't pan out then there was an alternative--not to sit at home and be a welfare bum like the stereotype poists--but work programs, training, non-military public service. Alternatives that are available to all who want. And I'd love to hear competing ideas from two sides about to best get that done. But one side's offering ideas--often meekly and half heartedly--while the other side refuses to even acknowledge that there IS a problem.
I think that's what distresses me most about the entire time I've been of age to vote--I've never had to walk into a booth, look at the two names on the ballot, and actually have to wrestle and weigh about the choice. This Republican Party, with its hate and fear and staunch refusal to ever take a toe out of the Dark Ages, is not a party I can ever, in good faith, vote for. I'd love for someone like Obama to be the absolute bottom line quality of a candidate, but until the GOP can get on board with the fact that it's the 21st century and you're either moving forward or getting left behind, I doubt it'll ever happen.